Widecombe History Group Minutes January 2000

If you are having problems with the menu, please refer to the Site Contents instead.

Buy the Devon Dialect Alphabet Book

Tracey Elliot-Reep

Dartmoor Christmas Trees

We are hosted and supported by UK Web Hosting

A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 5th January 2000 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 24 people attended. She welcomed Mr and Mrs Peter Wakeham our speaker for the evening and his wife.

Apologies:- Archie and Audrey Mortimore, Jenny and Michael Pascoe, Phyllis Pascoe, Bessie French, Liz Fursdon, Ken Hamlyn and David West.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and signed as correct.


Newhouse and Scobitor

We have been unable to trace any particulars regarding the guided walk at Scobitor to view the "Folly".

North Hall

Peter Rennells is continuing with his research and reported on his recent visit to The Royal Commission for Historic Monuments and Exeter Institute Library where the "Luftwaffe" photograph taken in December 1946 and the earlier "crop marking" photograph were examined. He reported that the ‘experts’ thought the markings were much more recent and that they were probably left after an army encampment during the war . The marks in their opinion depicted the sites of tents or buildings and the ‘wear and tear’ associated with them. It was suggested that senior members of the community should be approached as they may well remember if such encampments were on that site during the World War II. People suggested were:- Gladys Mann, Geoffrey Weymouth, Audrey Lamb, Simon Edward (Ned) Northmore, Olive Miners, Phyllis Pascoe and her sister Stella (who married a member of ‘The Oxford and Bucks Regiment’ (the Oxs and Buffs)), based in the parish, Leonard Norrish and Margaret Harris.

Peter then presented to Sylvia Needham the "Luftwaffe" photograph of the village, duly framed, which she had so kindly assisted the group in obtaining. Sylvia was greatly touched by the gift and thanked Peter for his kindness and thoughts.

The booklet on ‘North Hall’ is not yet completed.


Geoffrey Bamsey said that it is very difficult to be sure of the ‘collar number’ in the photograph of the Venton Police Station. Secretary to ask Audrey Lamb if she has been able to trace the original print. Geoffrey has also been told of a person in New Zealand who he hopes soon to contact regarding information of the police at Widecombe. He also believes it was a Widecombe policeman’s wife who came into Widecombe School and taught him the art of illuminated lettering, (decorated writing), this would have been in the early 1940’s, who was she?

This reminded us of Miss Peggy Tweed and Miss Reece, two teachers of that era, when Mrs Rose Tucker was headmistress.

Last meetings correspondence

A copy of the photograph of the tithes being paid on the Dunstone has not been found but may be in our archives.

No news of a transcript of the Peter and Ruby film.

Secretary has mentioned to Rev Newport about the lead on the Church Roof - no reply.

Secretary will also write to Secretary Parochial Church Council (Peter Dracup), to follow up the idea of saving the inscribed lead before the tower restoration begins.


Peter Hirst has collected the wrapping from DRO and the account will be passed on to The Parish Council to settle. Geoffrey Bamsey suggested that perhaps we could purchase a secondhand cupboard from ‘Bakers Yard, Exeter’, for considerably less than new, this will be considered.

Beating the Bounds

The draught plans for the beating the bounds received general approval and the committee will continue along these lines with their planning, (see December Minutes).

Mementos :- Secretary has been in conversation with Douglas Middleweek, of the china and gift shop here in the village and he has offered to produce a mug, similar in shape to the one that he has given to all the Widecombe Primary School children to celebrate the Millennium. If we produce the ‘artwork’ for the stencil that would be required for making the "limited edition suggested for this purpose, possible designs will be discussed at the February meeting. Secretary will contact Widecombe Fair Committee to see if they can assist with financial help with the project and the website expenses. The meeting was asked if anyone felt that they could produce a drawing to submit to the group, the drawing must be no bigger than 3inches high by 7.5 inches wide. Various names were put forward and the ideas will be considered at the next meeting.

Tucker Stone

This is now in the church - on the right side as one goes down the steps inside the West door and the write-up is positioned near it, the crosses and the stoop are on the left side.

Archiving papers and photographs

Secretary still trying to contact Dartington Rural Arts for advice regarding the best way to conserve these.


This is up and running and continues to grow.

There are pages on:- Widecombe Church, Widecombe School, Widecombe Fair and several months minutes of the group already on line, and the list is currently developing and increasing.

Details of the site will be published in the ‘February Parish Newsletter’, inviting interested parties to contact Roger and Ann Claxton for further information and a view to participating and helping with the expense. They have also begun to build up the "database" of apprentice examinations and indentures.

As the March meeting is a "Non Speaker Evening", Ann and Roger will bring along a computer to demonstrate to everyone the workings and possibilities of the ‘website’ and Chris Mayhead will bring a large screen for projection.

This means that instead of a small Visual Display Unit(VDU) which only one or two can view at a time, the whole meeting will be able to watch and view at one time.

Roger, Ann and Peter want some more indentures etc transcribed onto forms for ‘databasing’.

Please contact Peter Hirst if you are willing to help. To date 17 documents have been added to the database, resulting in 70 citizens being incorporated and about 25 locations. The database is developing well.

Grants for projects

Secretary had nothing to report on this to date but told the meeting that this will be an ongoing venture and he will explore other options. The group will be kept up to date as things progress.

Other Items and Correspondence

Recently Anthony Beard had seen a ledger of The Sun Insurance Society 1839-1844 advertised for sale. This was concerning Ashburton, Ilsington and Widecombe. He has written to the purchaser to see if he/she would be willing to let us have a copy of the details regarding this parish or to have sight of the book. He felt that it is important to attempt to know the whereabouts of all books, pamphlets, manuscripts etc concerning our parish and a rough idea of their contents, so that any future researchers would be able source the information held therein!

This is where the website and any future database can be very useful. He has no reply to date.

Peter Rennells reported that Kath Brewer has sent him a very comprehensive list of places where articles, books, photographs and newspaper cuttings are held with reference to Widecombe. He also had some photographs needing identification. Torquay Natural History Museum Library, Buckfast Abbey Library and others were mentioned in her list.

Mary Pascoe brought a copy of a letter from a John A. Corah, Fir Croft, Bovey Tracey, asking for photographs and archive material of a local haulier business, based at Widecombe and Bovey Tracey. It began in the 1940’s as Harris and Miners (now known as Brian Harris Transport). He is also looking for similar material on other local hauliers, this could include W. F. Miners and Sons, who also began at Widecombe around the same time and then moved their operation to Ashburton. Mr Corah is at present a sign writer and he has been asked to write a book.

Pam Clare had given the secretary a newspaper cutting obituary of Sir William van Straubenzee. Sir William had shown considerable interest in the group since its foundation and the Tucker Stone and the Home Guard were of particular interest to him. He died on November 2nd 1999 aged 75 years. He had been Member of Parliament for Wokingham 1959-87. Secretary has written to the family to express our sympathy.


A vote of thanks to Mary and Wendy for the tea and biscuits and to the ‘washer uppers’.


February Nora Lamb and Pam Clare

March Freda Wilkinson and Margaret Steemson

April Betty Andrews and Ruby Churchward

May Vivian Layfield and Wendy Cruze.

Peter Wakeham’s talk - "Man’s influence on the Dartmoor landscape" will be found here.

A good exchange of opinions and ideas took place.

A hearty vote of thanks was to Mr Wakeham was proposed by the chairman.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd February and the speaker will be Brian Maddock - "Dartmoor - A land under pressure and its sites and sounds".

Last months speaker Ted Fitch has sent the group copies of prints of designs of carpets from India and China showing the "Tinners Rabbits Design", and some copy of the Devon Notes and Queries III 1904-5, mentioning Widecombe and the Great Storm.

The meeting closed at 10.08 p.m.

Back to Top

The information on this page was last modified on March 18 2013 12:53:35.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor - The Heart of Dartmoor

Site Copyright © 2018 Widecombe History Group Registered Charity Number 1144684

Home  Contact Us  Site Contents  Site Search  Message Board  History Group  Parish Council  Privacy  Terms